20 Years of Chocolate – Brooklyn, NY

9/20/14

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Sideshow

Back in September I attended the 20 Years of Chocolate Anniversary Art Show in Williamsburg. I was especially excited because opportunities like this are one of the major reasons I wanted to move out of the Midwest. Rarely do skateboard companies hold special events in Oklahoma.

Girl and Chocolate has always been two of my favorite skateboard companies. Their videos are always timeless and their riders are legendary. Plus both companies have managed to keep their integrity in the ever changing skateboard industry and community, which is no easy feat.

Having the opportunity to see some of the riders, artwork, and classic skate decks in person had the skate nerd inside of me bubbling. Growing up I spent countless hours watching and re-watching Girl and Chocolate videos, reading team rider interviews and ogling over their ads. I convinced one of my roommates to join me (thanks Jonathan) and made sure to have my camera ready for a night out in Brooklyn.

When we arrived to Sideshow, there was already a long line formed on the sidewalk. Shockingly to me, and a bit annoyingly, a big chunk of the crowd weren’t skateboarders. A hipster couple, both dressed in all black, ended up behind us and exchanged the following words.

Hipster Man: “So what is all this for?”

Hipster Woman: “I’m not too sure. Some skate thing/art show. I mean there’s a line so it has to be somewhat interesting.”

I know it’s a bit of an overreaction but that conversation bummed me out. I didn’t want to share this experience with some hip losers with no ties to skateboarding. Thankfully the amount of skateboarders that began to cruise by saved my mood. Since this was a couple of months ago, I cannot remember everybody I saw outside, but a few I do remember are Brian Delatorre, Joe Hammeke, and Alex Olson.

The art show itself was awesome. Chocolate videos were projected, boards from throughout the years, original artwork, and classic photos were all on display. When Jonathan and I first got inside, the place was so hot and humid from all of the people that my camera lens fogged instantly. I spent most of the time nerding out on everything, poaching a few photos, and asking whatever person I’ve looked up to over the years if they wouldn’t mind posing for some awkward portraits.

One of the standouts was skate personality/writer/industry head Robert Brink. He was shocked that I just wanted a photo of him alone, as opposed to the classic selfie. After I shot the photo he took the time to ask my name and to talk for a bit. Thanks Brink, meant a lot.

Other highlights included seeing the controversial Pappalardo(blew it on getting a photo), shooting a portrait of Gino, seeing up close prints of Keenan Milton,  getting a portrait of a fully faded Sam Smyth, and bumming out Jerry Hsu when I asked for a quick photo. Thanks Hsu for obliging me, I’m sure having an awkward, fanned out 22 year-old take you away from your homies for a photo is annoying. The “Cherry” kids were also there fully Supremed out. I figured asking for a photo would be a waste of time. Besides I also feared asking for a photo would result in me getting hit like the geese and birds in their “Illegal Civilization” videos.

Thank you Chocolate for all that you’ve done for skateboarding the past 20 years. And thank you skateboarding for keeping me young.